Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
The lockdown was extended yesterday and this reminded Yoel Shpitz of something he heard from Rav Adin Steinsaltz:
“Rav Adin once said: There are people who get a headache or experience any sort of trouble and immediately announce that they are on strike. It’s not that they walk around with a sign that reads ‘On Strike,’ but they take a step backwards. They wait until their distress is over.
Meanwhile, they don’t pray, they don’t study, and they try not to do any other serious thing. Now, what comes of this? The person says: ‘I am ready to study, or pray, I am ready to run around and do things, but only in a sterile environment, when there will not be any problems or troubles or headaches’.
It is important to tell people like these that life here on planet earth is not built according to this formula. Life is full of troubles and headaches. If we wait for some relief until conditions are optimal, we will wait our entire lives and not do anything. In other words, we must get moving – now, as is, exactly as we are. To begin to get down to work and to move. Not to delay for a more convenient time that will probably never come. If the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted just Torah, prayers, and ‘sterile’ good deeds, he could command millions of angels to do the work. But he created people with headaches because he wanted our prayer, our study, and our good deeds – together with our headaches and all our troubles.
I was reminded yesterday of these words and I thought: now, in the current extended lockdown, I want to say: I will be a human being, I promise, but only after this annoying lockdown is over. And then I am reminded of Rav Adin and say: If you wait for some relief to come, then you will need to wait until you are 120. I hear him whispering in my ear: This lockdown, your lockdown, is what God wants. Get moving.”